Loch Venachar, Loch
Katrine, Loch Achray,
in dotted Blue
Aberfoyle, Lochs Venachar, Achray, Katrine & Lake of Mentieth are included in this lovely drive over the Duke's Pass
This is a scenic drive with 2 interesting stops. Easy 25 miles.
Mostly narrowish A roads.
From Callander, take the Glasgow road from the crossroads and turn right at the mini roundabout. Follow this road for about a mile, noting the Buchanan burial ground across the river on the right. Continue to Loch Venachar (no through road) and admire the view from the little car park. Double back for about half a mile and turn left over the little bridge which was built by the crown commisioners after the 45 rebellion with money from forfeited estates.
Continue to the T junction. The little hill in front of you is crowned by an ancient hillfort which may be visited by going through the gate at the laybye and following the faint track leading to the top of the hill.
At this junction (A821) turn left toward Brig o' Turk.
Heading west now toward Brig o' Turk, some ruined farm buildings on the right are the remains of Coile an Togle farm which featured in Scott's 'Lady of the Lake'. On the left is Loch Venachar where behind the farm at Portnellen farm is Portnellan island which is all that remains of an iron age crannog. On the far shore toward the west you may see a large house among the trees - this is Invertrossachs House which was a favourite of Queen Victoria when she visited these parts. As the road nears the loch, with trees both sides of the road you find a pair of timber clad buildings on the left by the loch. This is the 'Venachar Lochside' fishery and 'Harbour Cafe'. You can have a snack or a meal here whilst you enjoy one of the best viewpoints in the Trossachs with fabulous views - over the loch to the Menteith Hills and to Ben Venue and the Trossachs to the west,
The name of this small hamlet means 'The bridge of the boar'. Take to time to walk up through the old part of the village past the famous Tea Room. Just before the school an old burial ground on the right warrants a visit. If you go to the end of the public road you can walk up to the Glen Finglas dam for more great views. Whilst at Brig o' Turk you might like to stop for a refreshment at 'The Old Tea Room', close to the start of all the walks.
After Brig O' Turk, you come to placid little Loch Achray. The reflections on Loch Achray are renowned and are probably at their best in the Autumn when on a calm day the surface of Loch Achray can look like burnished gold.
You can also make an optional visit to the lovely little 'Trossachs Church' on the left in it's stupendous location overlooking Loch Achray.
Pass the large building with the spires on the right (Tigh Mor Holiday Property Bond)
then take the next right turn to the Loch Katrine pier - pay for
the carpark if you want to stop and admire the view or visit the shop. Loch Katrine
provides Glasgow's water supply and the little steamship 'Sir Walter Scott' on Loch
Katrine is operated by the west of Scotland Water board. The road up the north side of
Loch Katrine is private but may be used by cyclists and pedestrians.
Toilets, Car park, cafeteria, steamship excursions and bicycle hire here.
Drive back down to the main road and turn right towards Aberfoyle.
This is the Duke's pass which now passes through some magnificent wooded scenery. For a small fee you will be allowed to take a 7 mile drive over forest trails - (To do this, turn into the access road at the huge slate boulders on the left.
Nearing Aberfoyle, watch out on the left for the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park Visitor Centre. Interesting and informative with good info. on cycling, walking and local interest, but pay £1-00 for parking!
Continue down the hill taking care on the sharp bends and turn left to Aberfoyle.
Visit the shops, the Scottish Wool Centre and the old parish church.
Back to the car and continue through the village to turn left after about half a mile towards Callander. Continue until you see the Lake of Mentieth on the right, then a sign to Port of Menteith on the right - an optional extra with a short ferry trip to Inchmaholm Priory on its island. On this island, Mary Queen of Scots spent part of her childhood years away from the strife which plagued Scotland at that time.
Port of Monteith also boasts one of the trout fisheries so well liked by the keen fishermen who frequent the national park. The Lake of Menteith fishery sits in magnificent scenery just south of the Menteith Hills - part of the highland boundary fault. The Lake of Menteith rainbow and brown trout fishery reputedly provides the best fly fishing for rainbow and brown trout and is often the venue for national fly fishing contests.
The Lake of Mentieth is Scotland's only "Lake", but only because an English cartographer mis-read the Auld Scots words 'Laigh of Menteith' (meaning the low-lying area) for the English word 'lake'.
Continue eastward until a sign to the left for Callander.
Notice the remains of a fortified tower on the left at the farm (private). Follow the Callander road and enjoy some more woodlands for about four miles to return to Callander.
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